Scores Dead in Tanzania Ferry Sinking

Scores Dead in Tanzania Ferry Sinking

Dozens more bodies were recovered after the sinking of a ferry carrying hundreds of people in Tanzania, taking the death toll up to 86, the privately owned The Citizen newspaper said on its website on Friday.

Another official said the vessel was overloaded and had more than 400 people on board.

Local people joined in rescue efforts and fishermen are said to have saved some 20 or 30 people.

Thirty-seven people had been rescued from the sea, Jonathan Shana, the regional police commander for the port of Mwanza on the south coast of the lake told Reuters by phone on Friday.

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The MV Nyerere ferry overturned near the shore of Ukara island on its way from Bugorora.

A spokesperson confirmed 40 people had died in the tragedy - with the number expected to rise. This is lower than the 100 rescues initially reported by local officials on Thursday.

According to the Tanzania Electrical, Mechanical and Electronics Services Agency, which operates ferry services, the ferry capsized a few metres before docking.

While the ferry has a capacity of about 100 passengers, it was said to be carrying more than its capacity, in addition to cargo.

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John Mongella, the commissioner of Mwanza, says 37 people have been rescued after Thursday's capsizing.

The office of President John Pombe Magufuli released a statement saying he is shocked and saddened by the accident, and that he is praying for those who were on the ferry.

Earlier this decade Tanzania suffered two nautical disasters off the island of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean. It was one of the the worst ferry disasters of the last century.

According to Tanzanian government records, 894 people died when the MV Bukoba capsized on Lake Victoria in May 1996.

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However, hopes were fading for more people to be pulled out of the water alive.

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